Friday, May 24, 2013

Meet Jazz Cabaret Artist Rose Stella!

Meet Jazz Cabaret Artist Rose Stella. After having performed only one public show as a singer Rose was asked to perform at this year's Toronto Jazz Festival and we are blessed to have her performing June 5th at the Singers Playground Concert!

Micah: You have a mixed background which seems to give you a broad perspective how would you say your parent's worlds influenced your growth musically?
Rose: I grew up in Arizona so there was a lot of country and Mexican music around me.  But both my parents love music – so my world was filled with all kinds – It was the late 50’s and early 60’s so the wonderful pop music of that era...Hank Williams, Edie Gorme (especially with Trio Los Panchos.  My Father loved to dance and loved swing music.  Big Band music and the great singers like Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Johnny Mercer and Frank Sinatra and were popular in our home.

You seem to have a very profound ear for music and a great love of storytelling. Who are your biggest influences musically?
Singers who were my biggest influence were Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald. I also loved Peggy Lee and Betty Carter – and Liza Minnelli.  And on a whole different level – Julie Andrews – because when I was a child, I saw her in Mary Poppins and Sound of Music.  Ever since then, I wanted to sing!

You have a long and varied career in the theatre. How does your experience as an actor and writer help you as a musical performer? Actors need to know what they are saying and who they are saying it to.  I believe the same is true for singers.  Frank Sinatra was a musician/singer and an actor...and I believe his acting abilities influenced his “phrasing” – which he is so admired for by singers. I choose my material based on what moves me emotionally – songs with something emotional that I want to share with the listeners.

You waited a very long time to make your musical performance debut. What are the challenges you've faced on that journey?
Singing has always made me feel vulnerable...My Challenges have been that I am basically shy about expressing myself as ME.  Being an actor allows me to express myself through other characters – but singing has always been something that reveals me – and I was frightened about how vulnerable I felt when singing in front of people.  Singers’ Playground helped me immensely to address the reasons for my fear so I could break through it – and sing with confidence. 

What are the important elements that you focus on while in performance?
In performance, I concentrate on the story telling – not the singing. I do all the warm-up and prep work before the show...But it is the same when I am acting.  I am interested only in communicating...
With only one show under your belt you've been asked to perform at The Toronto Jazz festival and Hugh's Room. That must feel very exciting? Yes! I feel like the Universe is blessing me with the kindest acknowledgement of its love for me! 
In what ways has Singers’ Playground been a part of your journey along the way?
Singers’ Playground helped me pin-point the things that were holding me back.  I never understood why I was able to be an Actor, but terrified to SING.  Micah and Singers Playground addressed my technical singing problems...made me get my songs in the right key and find someone to write good charts for me.   It also taught me what I needed to do to be comfortable to sing with an accompanist – because karaoke does not prepare you for that (lol!).

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